Liberians in Columbus mark 176th Independence with cultural festival

On Saturday, July 22, 2022, the Liberians in Columbus Incorporated (LICI) brought the spirit of Liberia’s rich heritage to life as they hosted their fifth annual cultural festival in anticipation of Liberia’s 176th Independence Day.

The festivities took place at the Nafzger Park in Columbus, Ohio, drawing hundreds of Liberians and individuals from various nationalities who gathered to enjoy the celebrations of Liberian culture.

Since its inception in 2018, the cultural fusion festival has become a cherished tradition, celebrating the beauty of Liberian art, fashion, cuisine, and more.

This year’s event, like the ones before, served a dual purpose of promoting unity among Liberians residing throughout the city of Columbus.

The festival featured an array of talented vendors showcasing their traditional Liberian dishes, exquisite clothes, soulful music, and captivating comedy acts.

For the little ones in attendance, the festival offered much excitement with free face painting, toys, jumping houses, and other fun-filled activities.

The event was graced by Liberian comedian, Giant German Gina, fondly known as “GGG.” His hilarious anecdotes about Liberia left the audience in stitches and added an extra layer of joy to the already cheerful atmosphere.

Sports played a significant role in uniting Liberians, and the festival embraced this spirit by organizing a football match between the Mighty Barrow and the Invincible Eleven.

The friendly rivalry culminated in Mighty Barrow securing victory with three goals, while the Invincible Eleven scored one goal.

Despite the defeat, the team members of Invincible Eleven expressed their gratitude for participating in the sports match and being part of such a historic event.

As Liberians gathered to celebrate, they were filled with excitement to reconnect with fellow community members from various corners of Columbus, Ohio.

The festival showcased the growth of the Liberian community, which has rapidly expanded beyond Liberians and is now recognized as one of the fastest-growing New American communities in Ohio.

Proud of their cultural heritage, Liberians in Columbus proudly displayed their traditions and expressed immense pride in the impact and prominence their community has achieved.

Looking forward, today, July 28, Liberians will gather at the Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center to officially commemorate Independence Day.

The occasion promises to be graced by several community members, state representatives, entertainers, and dignitaries, reaffirming the strength of the Liberian community’s bonds.

As Liberia’s 176th Independence Day approaches, the vibrant celebrations continue to echo the resilience, unity, and pride of the Liberian people residing in Columbus, Ohio.


Columbus is bracing to play host to one of Cameroon’s most celebrated urban artists in the history of the country’s music industry. Ko-C arrives in Ohio’s chief city on June 17, 2023, for what has been described as the most anticipated music concert in the African community. This is the first time the highly talented and admired rapper will be performing in Ohio, and this comes against the backdrop of his current summer music tour of the United States.

Ko-C will be served to the Columbus public thanks to 614 Kings, an Ohio-based entertainment promotion outfit run by Rex Mbouge, himself an ace promoter of arts and culture and a longtime renowned leader within the African community. “I cannot wait to have this great experience with my favorite artist – that Ko-C will be in Columbus, is one of the biggest things happening to me this year,” Marthe, a Columbus fan of the rapper said.

I’m super excited and cannot hold my anxiety – Ko-C is King and I just can’t wait to watch him perform live on the night of June the seventeenth,” Prina, another fan said.

Organizers of the concert including Papa Zaraa, Kenzo Dollar and Loyalty Market, have stated that the topnotch event will kick off at 7:59pm and have insisted that music lovers attending should dress to impress.

Since coming to the limelight in 2017, the rapper who doubles as songwriter and singer has been relevant not only in the Cameroonian music industry, but across Africa. He is currently trending, thanks to DUEX OEUFS SPAGHETTI, released in February 2023 with 6.6 million views (and counting) on YouTube. The track has been source of Tiktok content across different African online communities. Ko-C has won eight awards, including a Best Male Artist in 2019, Artist of The Year in 2021 and Best Urban Artist recognition the same year.

Ko-C comes to Columbus less than a year after Tzy Panchak, another trending urban artist in Cameroon. Other musicians such as Magasco, Mr Leo, Minks, etc, have previously thrilled the Cameroonian community in the city.

For more information, read the official poster for the event.

HALF HEAVEN in Cameroonian theatres soon

Cameroon, get ready for a cinematic experience like no other! Half Heaven, the highly anticipated movie from the studios of Checksense Production in association with Buhmerang Pictures, is finally coming to a theater near you on June 2nd, 2023.

This star-studded film boasts an incredible cast, including award-winning performances from Syndy Emade, Chidi Mokeme, Seehefer Roland, Malvis Anne, Mbeng Lilian and many more. Directed by Enah Johnscott, director of the Fisherman’s Diary.

Don’t miss your chance to see these talented actors light up the big screen with their unforgettable performances.

Douala at Genesis Cinema at Douala Grand Mall and Buea

Tickets available at 3,000 frs. To reserve your seats, contact 650211482 or 677645107 and be among the first to experience the excitement of Half Heaven on the silver screen.

“Half Heaven” distributed by FilmOne Entertainment

Accra, Columbus, fused in cultural jamboree

Over 10,000 people are expected to converge on Columbus from August 5-7 this year to witness and take part in the maiden edition of the Ohio Ghana Festival. The cultural and business event wrapped in the framework of a sister cities rapport between Ghana’s capital, Accra and Ohio’s chief city, Columbus, will be a meeting point for people from several nationalities, joining Ghanaian sons and daughters in savoring the cultural prowess of the West African nation.

Highlighting the scope of the festival to include culturally prone activities, entertainment and business interaction at the media launch which constituted the first phase of the festival, Saturday, the project manager, Rev. Samuel Sarkodee insisted that Ohio Ghana Festival will be mutually beneficial to Accra and Columbus. “Finding this common ground between our sister cities will create a better future for our younger ones,” he pointed out.

To the Executive Director of Sister Cities International, the marriage between Ghana’s capital and Ohio’s main city, which is not new, must be consolidated so that our children’s children can live it and enjoy every benefit that comes along with the relationship. Jayme Staley lauded Ghanaians in Columbus for showing an unrelentless commitment to this Accra-Columbus rapport. “I can’t wait to go with you come August the 5th,” she said, anxiously looking forward to being part of the event.

On his part, the Director of Regional Partnerships at the City of Columbus Mayor’s Office, Michael Schadek, speaking so emotionally, described Ghanaians living in the city as a special community. Schadek, who was conferred the name Ghanaian traditional name of Kwame by the assembly, and clad in a batakari, Ghanaian traditional regalia, invited the people of the West African nation to embrace Columbus as home.

Meanwhile, religious organizations, including over 50 churches operating in Columbus, have thrown their lots behind the Ohio Ghana festival. “We have been providing guidance and advice to the organizers of the festival because we cherish this relationship between Accra and Columbus and we think it is good thing for this long-awaited event to happen,” said Apostle Prince Bonsu. He continued: “The Church will continue to pray for the festival, so Ghana can bring its rich culture here and share it with the great people of Columbus.”

Successive speakers at the media launch of the maiden edition of the Ohio Ghana Festival mentioned the promotion of the overall black heritage, as a salient point in the holding of the cultural and business come-together. Trapped in an uncontrollable wave of emotions amid an irresistible display of unity among festival promoters and guests to the launch, the Chair of Milo-Grogan Recreation Center, venue of the event, Charles Thompkins, proclaimed his infinite love for the people of Ghana. “This is some great thing we’ve been missing,” said the African American, referring to the fireworks of singing, dancing, and use of the mother tongue, displayed in the hall. Thompkins, almost succumbing to tears, requested hugs from the people whom he insisted had been exemplary in soul-warming.

Speaking earlier, Dr Edwina Teye justified the project by explaining that it was normal that the Ghanaian community in Ohio, reciprocally embrace a country and city that have received them with open hands. “We understand the benefits of building great relationships,” she indicated.

Sponsored principally by Adonko Bitters Limited and placed under the theme; “Our Culture, Our tradition, Our Heritage, the Columbus Way”, the Ohio Ghana Festival 2023 will bring together musicians, traditional dance groups and choreographers, fashion designers, traditional food chefs, media practitioners, writers, and companies. It will comprise of a welcome night, symposia/investment forums, the grand festival, thanksgiving service and a tour of Columbus. The media launch was also powered by Afro614 MultiMedia, one of the sponsors of the festival, run from Columbus.

“We are expecting to see visitors to the event, start making trips to Ghana after the Ohio Ghana Festival 2023,” the coordinator of the media launch, Nana Ama Afrifah said.



One story, two effects! Yet, a completely told story! This best describes Korto Davis’ EVIL LIVES HERE and EVIL LIVES HERE 2, produced by Knock Knock Liberia/Mansa Entertainment.

If EVIL LIVES HERE and EVIL LIVES HERE 2 were going to be Korto Davis’ only works, then the film director would have obtained an exceeding score in her career. In the story, Korto cinematically plays with ingredients that are required to create an indelible impact on the viewer – images, sound, shots, signs, and symbols and above all, artists’ performance. But what the filmmaker stands out with is her ability to deploy cinematic language that pegs squarely in the respective phases of the story.


Though evil is the dominant theme in the story, the filmmaker reduces its impact in EVIL LIVES HERE (first part), perhaps to delay its occurrence and not to turn off subtle-hearted viewers. Could this be deliberate contrast? Otherwise, notice the opulence – status conferral cars, gorgeous attires, good times (party), highlighted in the movie’s first phase.

Korto delays evil further with the conspicuous use of red, a color that represents love. It is not by chance that red dominates Kay’s (Sekou M. Sirleaf) middle-class living room where he dines with his love captive. Just one example!

Since the ugly head of evil is yet to protrude, the filmmaker courageously goes with bright lighting throughout EVIL LIVES HERE, making great use of exterior scenes in the process. This is another contrasting technique to delay the pending evil.

Perhaps, more dialogue than anything else characterizes this first phase of the story. It is either Kay, engaged in lengthy conversations with Eva Freeman (Ertamar Thompson) or Roda Freeman (Korto Davis) with Frank (George E. Dayocollins). It is either Frank in exchanges with Vera (Nesera Love Kamara) or Robert (Musa Sheriff) and Roda Freeman frantically trying to make it work to no avail. If for nothing else, the story’s visioner uses dialogue to lay a firm foundation for the ensuing revelation.

Meanwhile, the artists’ performance in EVIL LIVES HERE puts the story at the top. Notice Eva Freeman’s composure, Roda Freeman’s eye-twisting gestures, Kay’s admirable telegraphic movements as he revolves around his car to ferry his boss along, Vera’s comic, yet respectful servant gesticulations, etc. Record high, isn’t it?


Korto Davis wears her film directing garment in EVIL LIVES HERE 2 like never. She changes modes and moods and engages in a go-getting mission with her know-how.

The maiden flashback where Kay and his soulmate wrap up preps for the much-awaited wedding, is enough to explain why it should attract the gruesome elimination of Eva by her jealous ‘sister’. The director is going to use more of such flashbacking techniques which would lay the bricks of suspense (in a plot that could be deceptively revealing) throughout the story.

Notice Korto’s technique in effectively reflecting dialogue with creative acts and/or gestures. When Kay meticulously displays an admirable blend of laughter and cry (6.40m – 7.38m), it is a translation of the good and bad embedded in Dr Russ’ (Duke Murphy Dennis) revelation that excitement (positive) could cause death (negative). Also, no technique can be more effective than Roda Freeman’s willful release of flatus to paint disgust wrapped in Frank’s desperate attempt in puncturing her egoistic plans.

But hey, the filmmaker won’t let go signs and symbols that depict the movie’s environment – evil. Notice the sharp syringe and imagine the pain – the knife which is going to be Roda Freeman’s aide to face out (unsuccessful) out housemaid Vera – the sacrilegious/incestuous kiss with a to-be brother-in-law – the fatal liquidation of a husband! The symbol of Voice Mailing (VM) is perhaps Korto’s way of painting a veritable picture of modern-day communication where nothing seems to be hidden under the sun. Even when Vera’s recording is deleted, it has been backed up somewhere. Communication tech on display!

If EVIL LIVES HERE 2 is a cinematographic success story, it is largely thanks to the director’s awesome romance with shots. Korto pinches on long shots, plays so well with mediums, but her strength is clearly seen in close-up and extreme close-up shots. Check out Kay’s dingy mood 20.25m – 20.27m), Vera’s devastating posture (25.10m – 25.34m) Kay’s yelling (39.38m – 39.45m). Perhaps, Ansu K. Sirleaf’s (cinematographer) award-winning shot comes at the movie’s last scene (41.01m – 41.05m).

Other filmmaking techniques used in EVIL LIVES HERE 2, put the director on the high, including the originally composed sentimental sound tract that strongly bond with the somber moods that run across the story. This ties up with the solid dark costumes that characterize all scenes of the movie, except a few.

EVIL LIVES HERE is an urban movie that tells the story of a wealthy family’s adopted daughter who ruthlessly terminates her younger sister (and others in line), in protest of an unfavorable decision on their family company. Directed by Korto Davis, the movie is shot on locations in Monrovia, Liberia, starring Korto Davis, Ertamar Thompson, Sekou M. Sirleaf, George E. Dayocollins, Nesera Love Kamara and Duke Murphy Dennis. It was first released in March 2023 and is currently available on YouTube.


Ernest Kanjo is a USA-based Journalist and Writer with an interest in arts, culture, and entertainment reporting. He is founder of Apex 1 Radio – and Editor-in-Chief of TIPTOPSTARS (online entertainment magazine) – Kanjo has written extensively on the Cameroonian film industry and has several awards from his works in film reporting. He is currently undergoing training in film criticism.

Also find review of Nkanya Nkwai’s SAVING MBANGO (now streaming on Amazon Prime Video), produced by Stephanie Tum and Neba Lawrence’s TROUBLED KINGDOM, produced by Mairo Sanda and Fred Keyanti, at, written by the same author.

Ohio State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells advocates for Education

Ohio State Rep Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) will return to his alma mater, Hiram College, to give the Commencement Speech on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Only 34 years old, he will be one of the youngest speakers ever in the college’s 172 years of existence.

In early March of 2023, he spoke about his collegiate experience at the 2023 Independent College Day sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Ohio. With five independent colleges and universities in House District 1, Rep. Jarrells enrolled at Hiram in 2006 and majored in political science with a minor in economics.

He grew up in one of Cleveland’s most challenging neighborhoods as a child. The road to Hiram College, the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, Franklin County Treasurer’s Office, and even the statehouse took work. However, through mentorship and persistence, he is now where he is today—paying it forward by inspiring other young and future heroes to do the same.

Having been elected as the Assistant Minority Leader of the House Democratic Caucus in his second term, he’s one of the youngest in the nation to hold that position. Rep. Jarrells has lived up to the hype and continued to use his platform to tackle some of the most challenging problems impacting Central Ohio and the state.

His district, House District 1, includes Berwick, Bexley, Bronzeville, Downtown, Franklinton, German Village, Milo-Grogan, and the South Side of Columbus.

Here’s what Rep. Jarrells said at the start of the 135th General Assembly:

“As we look forward… I’m committed to building a better Ohio for all of us. I envision an Ohio where everyone can access high-paying careers, not just jobs—an Ohio where a child’s zip code doesn’t determine the quality of their education. In Ohio, where our kids are safe from firearms, families don’t have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Simply put, I work for you.

He’s remained steadfast to that commitment. And so far, Rep. Jarrells has sponsored two primary bills. House Bill 96 would raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, and House Bill 106, known as the “Pay Stub Protection Act.” The bill requires employers to provide their employees with earnings and deduction statements.

The representative has co-sponsored ten bills, including House Bill 52, now in the Senate Committee. Bill 509, passed during the 134th Assembly, to restore law related to emergency medical services training and continuing education programs and EMS and fire instructor certification. The bill would reverse House.

Rep. Jarrells’ unwavering support for Central Ohio residents, particularly immigrants and refugees across central Ohio, is undeniable.

He played a critical role in the election of the State Representatives Ismail Muhamed (D-Columbus) and Munira Abdullahi (D-Columbus), the first Somali-American male and female Muslims elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives. He also collaborates with various immigrant and refugee communities to celebrate their achievements and advocate for changes affecting their communities.

While Rep. Jarrells is typically the one giving commendations to celebrate the achievements of those across his district, his service and advocacy have been noticed. He has received several recognitions, including:

* 2023 Healthy Food Access Legislative Champion from Produce Perks Midwest
* 2022 NAMI Legislator of the Year
* 2022 Legislative Champion Award from Mental Health America
* 2022 Small Business Advocate of the Year from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)

Growing up in Cleveland, he was significantly involved in his high school STEM program. He attended East Technical High School and was part of the school’s FIRST® (For Inspiration Recognition in Science and Technology) robotics team. As one of the first all-Black teams in the nation, the students worked with organizations like NASA and other engineering companies committed to fostering well-rounded leaders. It is one of the reasons why Rep. Jarrells works so hard to improve the lives of youth through policies he fights for in the General Assembly.

As a member and leader of the team from 2002-2006, he credits robotics with changing his life. That’s why in January of 2022, he paid it forward by meeting members of Team #3324, the Metrobots. The team is sponsored in part by the Past Foundation, which also aims to inspire young minds to change the world of education through science and technology.

In an interview with FIRST in April of 2018, Rep. Jarrells stated that “his involvement with the East Tech’s robotics team saved his life…to have an opportunity like this to be told that you can be anything you put your mind to and have a place of refuge after school where you’ve got people who love and care about you to see you through. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Rep. Jarrells’ natural affinity for working with the leaders of all institutions to advocate for positive change and empower the next generation is truly an admiration to those who see him serve his district and state. And that’s an Ohio he believes we all deserve.